Before Ed Bolden began his career in baseball, he was a domestic servant and a clerk in the Philadelphia post office. He stood a scant 5 feet 7 and weighed less than 150 pounds, but his diminutive stature belied his forceful presence. By the time he retired in 1946, he was an accomplished baseball executive and a 42-year veteran of the US Post Office. His post-office position was not a glamorous career, but it was prestigious for a black man in the early 20th century. In addition to his postal career, Bolden found time to make a mark on the baseball world as an owner, officer in three different professional leagues (The Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, and the second Negro National League), and one of the great innovators in the history of professional baseball.
Bolden was a creative marketer, a skilled businessman, and a shrewd baseball scout, assembling several premier teams during his career. He excelled at recognizing talent, whether it was at the local or professional level.
Edward W. Bolden was born in Concordville, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles west of Philadelphia, on January 17, 1881. His baseball career began as a humble volunteer scorekeeper for an amateur team in nearby Darby, Pennsylvania, managed by 19-year-old Austin Thompson. Darby, which lies five miles southwest of Philadelphia, was an African American enclave of 6,300 when Thompson organized the Hilldale club in the spring of 1910. The team played other amateur squads in the Philadelphia area, but it would soon outgrow both its competitive and geographic boundaries. While Thompson started Hilldale on the road to prominence, he was not around to see the club reach it.
At 19, Thompson was barely older than the players on his team. The 28-year-old Bolden was more mature, had more business experience, and, as time would prove, possessed unparalleled marketing skills. The combination of Thompson’s youth and Bolden’s experience led to a change in leadership. By the end of the season Thompson was gone, replaced at the helm by Bolden. Under Bolden’s leadership, Hilldale grew from a local amateur organization to a professional powerhouse, flourishing financially through the 1920s before finally succumbing to the Great Depression. During his two decades in charge, Bolden built some of the best black ballclubs in the east. From 1923 to 1928 he also headed the Eastern Colored League (ECL), of which Hilldale was a charter member. All the while Bolden maintained his full-time position at the post office.
Bolden was a tireless and brash promoter. He heavily marketed the fact that Hilldale was black-owned. It paid off, playing a role in the team’s ability to land top-quality talent and schedule attractive opponents. It also made Bolden a local hero of sorts in Darby. But while he promoted Hilldale as a “race institution,” he was not afraid to do business with white men when he found it profitable. Despite his willingness to deal with businessmen regardless of color, Bolden remained devoted to black business and causes. He was a member of several black organizations, including the Elks, Masons, Shriners, and the Citizens Republican Club. He donated generously to black causes, and regularly took part in benefits and charity events, both individually and through the ballclub.
Bolden earned a reputation as a clean, upstanding owner with little tolerance for rowdiness or umpire-baiting. He advocated “clean ball” and gentlemanly behavior on the field and expected the same from the fans in the stands. Once, during the 1916 season, Bolden even went so far as to press charges against patrons of his own park for rowdy behavior. This incident led to his employment of security guards at home games to ensure the safety and comfort of the players, umpires, and fans.
Bolden was a master at utilizing the press to market his team. Immediately after taking over from Thompson, he began providing regular updates on the team, including box scores, to the local black press. He put up posters, mailed postcards announcing upcoming games, and purchased ads in the Philadelphia Tribune in order to generate publicity for Hilldale.
One of Bolden’s more curious publicity stunts was a fundraising scheme he concocted in 1914. To raise cash for the team, he held a raffle, offering a ton of coal as first prize. The effort succeeded, and the team ended the year with a $225 profit.
Perhaps Bolden’s greatest stroke of marketing genius was the construction in 1914 of Darby Field, also known as Hilldale Park. The location of the ballpark was convenient for his fan base, and easy to reach after Bolden arranged with the local streetcar company to run a line straight to the park and add extra cars on game days. Beginning in 1917, Bolden earned additional income by leasing out the stadium and selling advertising in the park.
As he would continue to do throughout his career, Bolden improved his roster by signing players away from other squads. When Hilldale was an amateur team, he recruited players from other sandlot teams, sometimes advertising in the papers for open tryouts, or placing classified ads seeking specific players. Later on he signed players from other teams, often earning the enmity of other owners as a result. This practice led to his long-running public feud with Rube Foster. The feud had its roots in the organization of the Negro National League (NNL) by Foster in 1920. The league suffered from many problems, ranging from a lack of competitive balance to poor publicity. Foster considered contract jumpers one of the greatest threats to league stability. He was particularly upset with Bolden, whom he accused of stealing three of his players after the 1919 season. In retaliation, Foster pledged his support to the Madison Stars and Bacharach Giants, competing clubs in the East. The Giants joined the NNL and immediately raided the Hilldale roster.
Bolden responded to the raid with a legal challenge, which he ultimately dropped when he couldn’t afford to continue the proceedings. He contended that none of the players he had signed away from Foster’s club had been under contract at the time, nor were they protected by a reserve clause; hence he had not been guilty of enticing anyone to jump his contract. Bolden’s eventual creation of a competitor league to the NNL only further strained the relationship between the two entrepreneurs.
For Hilldale, 1916 proved to be a watershed year. Before the season Bolden implemented several substantial changes. He required players to be present for twice-weekly practices and pregame workouts, banned alcohol, and threatened dismissal for insubordination. The ballpark was upgraded, a grandstand was built, admission was fixed at 20 cents, new uniforms were ordered, and regular weekly meetings were held during the offseason. Most importantly, Hilldale earned a profit for the third consecutive year. The players displayed their appreciation for Bolden after the season by presenting him with a $100 diamond ring, which they purchased out of their share of the profits.
The Hilldale Daisies, as they were commonly referred to in the press, officially incorporated as the Hilldale Baseball and Exhibition Company in January 1917. Bolden was elected president by his co-owners, who referred to themselves as the “old fellows,” since most of them had been with the team since its early amateur days and were too old to play.
The incorporation was the first step to becoming a professional club. Signing Otto Briggs as the club’s first paid player was the second. To cover the costs of running a professional team, admissions went up by a nickel at Hilldale Park beginning in August of 1917.
Bolden had to be innovative to survive. As the president of an independent team, he had to create an entire season schedule and negotiate a payment for each game. Sunday and holiday games could generate big profits with the right competition at the right price, and the loss of even one such lucrative payday could spell the difference between profit and loss for the year. These business decisions were crucial because of the thin margin on which the team operated.
The decision to turn professional was financially risky, but paid off immediately both on the field (23-15-1 record) and off ($2,915 profit for 1917, which was nearly three times as much as the previous three years combined). The bottom line was helped by several postseason exhibitions that Bolden lined up against major leaguers. To beef up the squad for these games he added stars Smokey Joe Williams, Louis Santop, and Dick Lundy to the lineup. Santop remained with Hilldale for several seasons, and was instrumental in leading the team to the Colored World Series in 1924.
Bolden’s success drew the attention of white New York booking agent Nat Strong, who coveted Hilldale for his booking agency. When Bolden rebuffed his advances, Strong threatened to drive him out of business by locating a competing team across the street from Darby Field. Bolden responded promptly and publicly to this threat by taking out an ad in the Philadelphia Tribune to state his case:
“The race people of Philadelphia and vicinity are proud to proclaim Hilldale the biggest thing in the baseball world owned, fostered, and controlled by race men. … We are proud to be in a position to give Darby citizens the most beautiful park in Delaware County, a team that is second to none and playing the best attractions available. To affiliate ourselves with other than race men would be a mark against our name that could never be eradicated.”
Bolden’s public-relations coup and his skills at signing top talent defused Strong’s threat and contributed to the rise of Hilldale to the top of the Eastern colored circuits. His refusal to ally with white baseball men won him praise and admiration. Years later his reversal of this belief would cost him in the court of public opinion.
After World War I, Bolden and other local promoters began to challenge Philadelphia’s blue laws prohibiting commercialized ball on Sunday. They banded together in an organization known as the Allied Athletic Association. Their bid ultimately failed, but it begat another organization, the Philadelphia Baseball Association (PBA), which would provide Bolden with valuable administrative experience, and demonstrate his standing in the local baseball community. The PBA was formally organized in February 1922. Besides campaigning for Sunday ball, it also addressed contract-jumping, umpiring, gambling, and discipline problems. Hilldale was a member of the PBA, and Bolden was the only African American elected to its board of governors.
Besides upgrading his own park on an annual basis, Bolden also secured a lease in 1920 on a park across the river in Camden, New Jersey. He could now expand his market with two ballparks. It also allowed him to schedule lucrative home Sunday games, which Philadelphia’s blue laws prohibited.
Later that year Bolden paid $500 for an associate membership in the National Association of Colored Professional Baseball Clubs (NACPBC). The advantage of joining the league was a regular slate of games and a central authority. But the ability of the league to discipline either the players or the clubs was very limited. Hilldale, like other teams, could, and often did, play any team that would agree with it on price and location, bypassing a scheduled league game if necessary. That year more than two-thirds of Hilldale’s schedule was against nonleague opponents.
In December 1920 Bolden left the NACPBC and for a $1,000 deposit, joined Rube Foster’s Negro National League (NNL) as an associate member. The membership provided him protection from player raids by other league members. The following year Bolden made one of his most lucrative investments, purchasing Judy Johnson from the Madison Stars for $100. Johnson became a fixture in the Hilldale lineup for the next decade, leading the team with a .341 batting average during the 1924 colored World Series and managing the team in 1931 and 1932. In 1975 Johnson was elected to the Hall of Fame.
By 1922 Bolden was no longer satisfied with his membership in the NNL. While he was protected from player raids, he had lost lucrative dates against Eastern clubs on Foster’s outlaw list. Foster forbade NNL members to play outlawed teams in an effort to punish them for their refusal to recognize NNL contracts. He felt that by denying these outlaws lucrative dates against the high-quality teams of the NNL he would punish them at the box office. Unfortunately for Hilldale, the the NNL teams suffered as well.
The travel costs associated with league play were another sore point for Bolden. During the 1921 and 1922 seasons, only four Western teams came to Hilldale for games, and Hilldale’s Western trip in 1922 was a financial loss. The cost of transportation, food, and lodging were more than Hilldale’s share of the gate.
Bolden had sought to withdraw from the league and requested a refund of his deposit, which Foster refused. The two threatened to raid each other’s rosters, but ultimately Hilldale retained its associate membership in the league for a second season in 1922.
Hilldale resigned from the NNL for the second time after the 1922 season. Foster still refused to refund the deposit, citing a recent change in league bylaws preventing it. Bolden struck back by forming a rival league, the Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Baseball Clubs, popularly known as the Eastern Colored League (ECL), to begin play in 1923. Unlike the NNL, which was governed by Foster, the ECL had no president, but was run by a commission composed of one representative from each club. Bolden was elected chairman of the commission.
The formation of the league set off a public-relations war with the NNL, whose chief criticism was that some of the owners of ECL teams were white. Of particular concern to Foster was Bolden’s inclusion of Nat Strong, a white booking agent in New York. From Bolden’s perspective, Strong’s tight control of the New York market made it necessary to do business with him, especially since Sunday ball was still prohibited in Philadelphia, but not New York. Bolden countered that NNL teams were also closely tied to white businessmen, as most of the teams rented parks from white owners. In contrast, several of the ECL parks were controlled by black owners.
In his typical fashion, Bolden strengthened his team by raiding NNL rosters, resulting in Hilldale’s dominating the early years of the league. The team won the first three league titles, in 1923, 1924, and 1925, appeared in the first two Colored World Series, in 1924 and 1925, and won the Series in 1925. Naturally, his signing of NNL players did not enhance Bolden’s popularity with NNL owners.
Bolden had difficulty administering the Eastern Colored League. The commission setup made it hard to govern, because each team had a vote, and all owners were very much interested in promoting their own interests. Thus, they were wont to abandon league games for more lucrative exhibitions, especially if the league games meant a road trip. As a result, it was difficult to enforce fines for rowdy behavior, umpire-baiting, and skipped games.
Foster’s NNL and Bolden’s ECL maintained frosty relations throughout the 1923 season and into 1924. But in September, the two executives met in New York and set their differences aside, agreeing to stage a Colored World Series between the two leagues.
The NNL champion Kansas City Monarchs bested Hilldale in the inaugural World Series, five games to four, with one tie. The Series featured five future Hall of Famers: Judy Johnson, Louis Santop, and Biz Mackey for Hilldale, and Jose Mendez and Bullet Rogan for Kansas City. (J.L. Wilkinson, owner of the Monarchs, also was inducted into the Hall of Fame.)
While the Series was profitable, the player shares were less than they likely would have earned in a barnstorming series against white players. Attendance was disappointing: only 45,857 for the ten-game series, with the weekday contests drawing especially poorly. It didn’t help that only three of the games were actually played at the home field of either team. The series opened with two games in Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, followed by two games in Baltimore and three in Kansas City before finishing with three games in Chicago. The high travel costs and the large number of games at neutral sites were factors in the relatively low profit for the Series.
Despite the low attendance, Bolden and Foster were happy with the outcome because the Series helped to focus national attention on professional black baseball. Unlike regular-season games, the Series was acknowledged by the white press in many cities.
After the Series Bolden and Foster set about normalizing relations between the NNL and the ECL. In December they signed a National Agreement that divided geographic territory between the two leagues, standardized player contracts, and formally inserted a reserve clause into player contracts. Both Bolden and Foster felt the agreement would provide the stability necessary to ensure the financial success of the two leagues.
In 1925, in an attempt to improve the quality of umpiring in the ECL, Bolden abolished the home-umpire system, in which the home team hired the umpires, in favor of league-hired umpires rotated between cities. Bolden fell out of favor over his rotating umpire plan when he hired a white supervisor of umpires, Bill Dallas. He claimed there were no qualified blacks for the position, which only inflamed criticism from the black community. The system did not solve the umpire problems, and Dallas’s lackadaisical approach to the job was blamed. The system was dropped before the 1926 season.
In 1925 Hilldale won the second Colored World Series, five games to one over Kansas City, but it was a financial disaster. Attendance averaged fewer than 3,000 per game for the six-game Series, and players received less than $100 each. The fortunes of the team sank after its championship. Hillsdale finished third in 1926 and fifth the following year, and lost attendance for three straight years. Bolden tried to resurrect the team with a series of roster moves that proved to be unpopular, and the Darby community turned on him for the first time.
The ECL responded to the numerous critics who pointed out the conflict of interest Bolden faced as commission chair and owner, and before the 1927 season he was replaced with a league president unaffiliated with any team. In September 1927, just before he was to leave for the Colored World Series, Bolden suffered a nervous breakdown. He resigned his position on the ECL commission, stepped down as president of Hilldale in favor of vice president Charles Freeman, and appeared to be out of baseball.
In February of 1928 Bolden began his comeback when he was re-elected secretary-treasurer of the ECL, and the following month regained the presidency of Hilldale. One week later he announced that Hilldale had withdrawn from the ECL. Two other teams withdrew before Opening Day, dealing a mortal blow to the league, which did not finish the season. Hilldale went 15-12 that year as an independent team. Though he had founded the league, by 1928 Bolden no longer found membership profitable, and abandoned it. He estimated that the team lost $18,000 in 1927 and could do better as an independent team.
The black economy had already slipped into a recession well ahead of the general economy. With finances tight, Bolden made more roster adjustments. His first move was to undo the decision by Charles Freeman to hire Bill Francis as a nonplaying manager, reckoning that such a luxury was unaffordable. He released Francis and brought back Otto Briggs as player-manager, saving the team one salary.
Just one year later Bolden changed his mind again about league membership. He assembled five of the six original ECL franchises and formed the American Negro League (ANL) in time for the 1929 season. He learned from some of his past mistakes when constructing the new league. For one thing, the league was more welcoming to the press, which it invited to league meetings, something the ECL never did. It helped that Bolden appointed Rollo Wilson, a respected reporter in the black press, as league secretary. But the league lasted only one season, during which Hilldale compiled a 39-35 record, good for fourth place.
The 1929 club was the highest-salaried club in Hilldale’s history, featuring future Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston, Martin Dihigo, Biz Mackey, and Judy Johnson. Each player earned more than $900 salary for the six-month season and the team as a whole averaged $700. While these salaries may sound low, they were quite good for a black man of the period, especially considering that the average manufacturing wage in the United States that year was $1,500 a year.
Umpiring was once again a problem. This time it focused on race. Bolden was unable to field an all-black umpire roster for home games. That aggravated the local black community, which was hurting economically. Bolden defended his use of white umpires by arguing that there was a shortage of experienced black umpires, and that quality trumped race in his hiring decisions. While it might have been true, it did not soothe the wrath of the black community in which he operated.
For the Hilldale squad, 1929 was the last flush year. Jobs were disappearing and the economy was plunging into what would become the Great Depression, wreaking financial havoc on black baseball. In response to the difficult times faced by the high-salaried Hilldale franchise, Bolden attempted to dissolve the corporation in 1930. He quietly made plans for a new team he planned to organize with the financial backing of white promoter Harry Passon. The rest of Hilldale’s board had other ideas, however. They blocked his attempt and bought him out of the corporation. Ed Bolden was no longer a part of the legacy he had created in Hilldale. John Drew, a black politician who earned his fortune operating a successful bus line in Philadelphia, took over and ran the club until it collapsed midway through the 1932 season.
In August of 1930 Bolden was threatened with a demotion by the post office for falling efficiency ratings, likely a result of his time-consuming involvement with baseball. He appealed on the strength of his past work record and benefited from the support of his congressman, James Wolfenden, in his successful petition to retain his position.
After leaving Hilldale, Bolden remained out of baseball for two years. In 1932 he was made an honorary member of the Darby Phantoms Athletic Club and assumed control of its sports teams, taking particular interest in the talented amateur baseball squad. He signed some professional players in an attempt to beef up the club with the intention of taking it professional, but after two years of only modest success as a travelling squad, he abandoned the effort.
Bolden returned to professional baseball in 1932 with the Philadelphia Stars. His return was controversial because he partnered with white booking agent Eddie Gottlieb, who had the connections and capital necessary to run a baseball team. Gottlieb got a 50 percent share of the team in return for providing most of the financial backing. Bolden continued to handle the bulk of the administrative tasks. So many exhibition games were booked that by midseason 1933 the Stars had played against only two black teams.
It was a logical move for Bolden to partner with Gottlieb, who had a stranglehold on baseball bookings in the Philadelphia area and had strong ties to Nat Strong, who similarly dominated the New York market. While it was a sound financial arrangement on paper, partnering with a white man went against Bolden’s history as a “race man” and risked alienating black fans. Bolden asserted that in the Depression economy it was necessary to trade race for sound finances, which were few and far between in the black community.
After the problems the ECL had surviving in league baseball, which was dependent primarily on black fans, Bolden was reluctant to commit to a league with his Stars team. He preferred a simple working agreement among teams that would honor player contracts but not require a lot of unprofitable league games. Bolden said that the Stars made most of their money on exhibitions against white teams and lost money when they committed to league games. He and Gottlieb attended a meeting of the newly formed Negro National League (formed by Gus Greenlee, this was not the same NNL Rube Foster had formed) in March of 1933, but the Stars did not join the league. Bolden promoted the Stars, who played as an independent team that year, as “Hilldale” and rented Hilldale Park on occasion. Instead of salaries, the players were paid a share of the gate receipts.
The repeal of Pennsylvania’s blue laws in 1933, the greater availability of lights, and the more optimistic economic outlook of 1934 made Bolden reconsider his opposition to joining Gus Greenlee’s NNL. He did, however, have an issue with the franchise security deposit, which was too much for his cash-strapped team to afford. Greenlee wanted Bolden’s Stars in the league to provide a team in the Philadelphia market, and a deal was struck. The Stars rejoined league ball, becoming a member of the NNL for the 1934 season. The team drew well at its new home, Passon Field, especially on weekends, and was among the league leaders in attendance. The Stars captured the second-half title with an 11-4 record, then defeated the first-half champion Chicago American Giants to win the league championship series.
The 1935 season did not go as well for the Stars. The deteriorating financial climate renewed Bolden’s skepticism about league baseball, especially during the depressed economy. The team did not draw as well as it had in 1934 and Bolden questioned remaining with the league, noting the loss of lucrative white exhibition dates to long, unprofitable Western road trips mandated by the league schedule. That attitude changed however, when Gus Greenlee resigned as league president in the spring of 1936 and Bolden was elected to replace him. As president, Bolden felt he could turn the league around by employing the same principles he had used when guiding the ECL a decade earlier.
It was not to be. Bolden’s authority, much like Greenlee’s, was thwarted by uncooperative owners. Unfortunately for Bolden, they followed his earlier lead and eschewed league games for more profitable barnstorming opportunities. Bolden canceled the 1936 championship series after one game when several players from the participating teams, the Elites and the Crawfords, skipped the series to barnstorm. Bolden defended his action by arguing that an unprofitable championship was worse than none at all. This was an unpopular move, however, and his tenure as league president was short. In January of 1937, less than a year after becoming president, he was ousted and Gus Greenlee resumed control.
The end of the Depression did not make life any easier for black baseball owners. The war years posed a different set of obstacles, such as rationing, which curtailed the ability to travel. Bolden continued to innovate in order to balance the budget. He recognized that the attendance of prominent black leaders reinforced baseball’s legitimacy and served as an additional attraction at the ballpark, so he cultivated their patronage and support by providing passes to representatives of all the major local black institutions. He also recruited an outstanding black man or woman to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.
Despite the challenges posed by World War II, black baseball thrived in the 1940s, as crowds grew, salaries rose, and teams more frequently played in major-league parks. One thing that did not improve, though, was the umpiring. Another problem was rowdy players. Even Bolden, who had earned a reputation in his first ownership stint as a “fair dealing and clean playing” man and encouraged his Hilldale players to act like gentlemen, turned a blind toward the antics of two of his managers, Jud Wilson and Goose Curry, whose reputation for umpire-baiting was well known around the league.
After the war integrated baseball took center stage. Despite its obvious threat to the existence of black baseball, Bolden supported integration and pledged to work with his players to gain access if Major League Baseball came calling. He believed that integration would make the black leagues stronger because it would result in better efforts from the players who now saw greater opportunities. History would prove otherwise, but Bolden would not live to see it.
The Philadelphia Stars sold the contract of Roy Partlow to Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey on May 14, 1946, for $1,000. Though a small sum by MLB standards, the sale set an important precedent and was a symbolic victory for black clubs by establishing a precedent for the recognition of their player contracts by major-league clubs. There was no promise that Partlow would be given a legitimate shot at a major-league roster spot, but Bolden was optimistic.
Sadly, the recognition of Negro League contracts by major-league teams would prove to be spotty. Raids by major-league clubs and the drain of young talent to the white minor leagues were major factors leading to the merger of the western Negro American League and the NNL after the 1948 season. Despite the higher travel costs involved with the merger, Bolden was among those who felt it was a necessary step to ensure continued bookings and offer protection from player raids by black and white teams alike. It was, instead, the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues.
Bolden was not around to witness the twilight of black baseball. He died on September 27, 1950, in Darby after suffering a stroke. He left his share of the Stars to his daughter, Hilda Bolden Shorter, a 46-year-old pediatrician who owned the team until it folded in 1952. Bolden’s death “ended an era in race baseball and the attempt on the part of its pioneers and successors to elevate it to a big time level.”
Dick Clark and Larry Lester, eds., The Negro Leagues Book (Cleveland: SABR, 1994).
Coley Harvey, “Bolden was a Negro League pioneer,” http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090204&content_id=3797192&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb, accessed February 4, 2009, Ed Bolden file, National Baseball Hall of Fame Library
Michael Haupert, “Ed Bolden: Black Baseball’s Great Modernist,” forthcoming in Black Ball.
Michael Haupert and Ken Winter, “The Old Fellows and the Colonels: Innovation and Survival in Integrated Baseball,” Black Ball, No. 1 (Spring 2008), 79-92.
Lawrence D. Hogan, Shades of Glory (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006; Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994).
Neil Lanctot, Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale Club and the Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910-1932 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 1994).
Neil Lanctot, Negro League Baseball (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
James Overmyer, Queen of the Negro Leagues (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1998).
Alan J. Pollock and James A. Riley, eds., Barnstorming to Heaven: Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2006).
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues (New York: Carroll & Graf,1994).
Sol White, History of Colored Base Ball (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995, reproduction).